Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wee Hours Wake-Up Call

At 12:30 this morning, Dan hears a noise, but doesn't think anything about it. He drifts back to sleep, then the phone rings and wakes both of us. It's our neighbor, Lorraine, across the street. She says that something "strange" has happened in our driveway.

Tim spent the night with us, because he was to leave very early this morning for the airport to start his Hawaii vacation. He had parked his car in our driveway. We went to the front window and tried to make sense out of what we saw -- a badly damaged car, not Tim's, sitting sideways at the lower end of our driveway and, from our viewpoint, what looked like Tim's car, also damaged, sitting up by the garage doors.

We called 9-1-1, and were told that someone else had already reported it and that the police were on their way. We stayed inside until the police arrived, because we didn't know who might be out there. While we waited, Tim woke up and wanted to know what was happening. We really didn't know much, but broke the news to him that his car had been hit.

The police arrived quickly and were so nice. We went out and assessed the situation. The out-of-control car jumped the curb, on the up-hill side of our driveway, plowed across the sidewalk and into our driveway, hit Tim's car, spun it 90 degrees, and stuffed it into our garage doors on the opposite side of the driveway.

Wow! Lots of police cars at our house!

The other car

Tim's car

Tim's damage

I began reassuring Tim that he would still make it to the airport to start this trip he's been dreaming of. I told him I would drive him. He was planning on leaving our house at 3:30 a.m. But there were two big obstacles to my plan. Number one was that his luggage was in his trunk, and not accessible. And, once I was thinking clearly, the second obstacle dawned on me. There was no way we were going to be able to open the garage door - it was seriously damaged and hanging onto the track by only one of the four panels - so I wouldn't be able to get my car out. What to do? !

Eventually the tow truck arrived, to haul both cars off. The tow truck driver was very accommodating, and after he pulled Tim's car away from the garage door, he let us try to open the trunk to get the luggage out. It worked! Next we had to solve the transportation problem. We figured the only solution was to call a cab, but one of the police officers on the scene kindly offered to drive Tim to the airport. Both obstacles resolved!

From inside the garage we saw that we were only about two inches away from having a three-car accident, since the buckled door (and Tim's car on the other side of it) almost "kissed" the rear of Dan's car.

From inside the garage

Both of us had to call in to work this morning and report that we wouldn't be able to come in, since we can't open the garage door. We have someone lined up to come tomorrow morning to replace the door and the opener, but until then our cars are trapped inside.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Girls' Afternoon Out

On the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day, Kelsey, Clara and I left the boys at home and had some time just to ourselves.

Kelsey set this event up perfectly. After we were finished with dinner and had cleaned up the kitchen, Kelsey asked Clara if she'd like to have her hair done up like a princess. Of course she did! Clara adores the Disney princesses! Kelsey combed Clara's hair and put in some pretty little lavender clips, and then dusted her cheeks with a little powder and put some gloss on her lips. Clara was already beginning to feel pretty as a princess. Then Kelsey hinted that Clara really should wear a pretty dress if she wanted to look like a princess. Out of a sack, beside her, she pulled a Rapunzel play dress, which she had secretly purchased the day before. Clara's eyes lit up, and she couldn't wait to put it on. After Clara pranced around like a princess for awhile, Kelsey suggested that it would be nice to go somewhere, since Clara was all dressed up. Of course, Clara thought that was a great idea, so the three of us (the girls) piled into the car to an unknown (to Clara) destination.

It took awhile, even after we arrived at the movie theater, for Clara to realize she was going to see Tangled, the new Disney movie about Rapunzel, and that she and Rapunzel would be wearing matching dresses. How fun is that?!!

I never got a posed picture of Clara in her Rapunzel dress, but I did snap a few candid ones, as she was spinning and twirling in a dance of pure childhood joy.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Daring Bakers' November Challenge - Crostada!

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well. (Recipe HERE)

I was eager to make this, since the crust (the pasta frolla) was a lovely shortbread-y type of dough, and we were encouraged to try any kind of filling we wanted. I thought an apple custard filling would be great for fall.

The pasta frolla, though somewhat sweet, was mixed up, by hand, in the same way pasta (for noodles) is, starting with the dry ingredients in a pile and the egg placed in a center indentation. Starting with a fork, and then using my hands, I incorporated the dry ingredients into the egg, just until it all came together into a nice dough.

After refrigerating the dough for a couple hours, I rolled it out, put it in a tart pan, and baked it. Once the crust was cool, I brushed it with an apricot glaze, to seal it and keep the filling from soaking in and making it soggy. (It worked well, by the way!)

For the filling, I sauteed some tart apples (Granny Smiths) in some butter and sugar until they were slightly soft.

After the apricot glaze had set up on the crust, I filled it with a layer of apples and poured the custard filling over top. I sprinkled a little cinnamon over it and popped it into the oven (20 to 25 minutes). If I make an apple custard crostada again, I will bake it for a shorter amount of time. I think the custard was a bit over-baked, but still tasty!

Not Fair!

Poor Robert! You only get to turn one year old one time in your life, and his first birthday didn't turn out the way it was supposed to. He had been running a fever for nearly a week, and had a lot of congestion. So Kelsey and I took him to the doctor this morning, and learned that he had a very bad ear infection, especially in the right ear, as well as some wheezing in his lungs.

The doctor gave him a shot of antibiotics - NOT an appropriate birthday gift! - as well as a couple of prescriptions. He's been on at-home breathing treatments all week and will be continuing them, as well.

But we didn't let the day go by without any fanfare. Kelsey baked cupcakes, Chris went out for balloons, and we all sang "Happy Birthday" to the birthday boy. He dug into the cake like a one-year-old is supposed to do. Actually, he has been a real trooper, playing and smiling and passing out loves to Grandma and Grandpa, despite being under the weather.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dreaming of Christmas

November and December are busy months for the Judd family. First comes Robert's birthday, then Thanksgiving. Next will be Clara's birthday and then a visit from Old Saint Nick!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy First Birthday, Robert!

Robert turned one year old on Tuesday! Here he is in his new riding toy. You can see by his clapping hands and smiling face that he's tickled with it. Sadly he's running a little fever and has a lot of congestion going on, so we're not sure his little party, scheduled for tomorrow will be a "go."

Here's a picture of Robert last year at this time. What amazing changes in just twelve months! He's started taking his first steps this month, and is jabbering expressively (his own language, for the most part). He loves to point his little finger at things and ask, "This?"

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Look What Came in the Mail


I can't believe our baby is turning a year old. Here are a couple scrapbook pages I've been working on for the past 11 months. We only need one more picture of Robert in his nursery rocking chair to complete the layout. It won't be long now!



When I Was a Child I Thought As a Child

I remember, as a child, seeing people limp – like Chester on Gun Smoke – and thinking that having a limp was similar to having brown hair, or being left-handed. It was, I thought, just something some people had. It never occurred to me that a limp was indicative of pain.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Join In the Fun

They say a language that doesn’t evolve will become a dead or extinct language. As evidence that English is a living language, every year the publishers of English language dictionaries add to their pages words that have come into use through our changing culture. Supposedly, these words have, both, currency and potential longevity. I’m not so sure.

In 2009, the Word of the Year, for the New Oxford American Dictionary was (drum roll, please):

unfriend – to remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook

(Apparently, Blogger is sadly behind the times, since it's spell checker identifies both “unfriend” and “Facebook” as misspellings in the above definition.)

Some other interesting new English words that were validated by the dictionary folks in 2009 include:

intexticated – distracted because texting on a cellphone while driving a vehicle

screenager – a person in their teens or twenties who has an aptitude for computers and the Internet

freemium – a business model in which some basic services are provided for free, with the aim of enticing users to pay for additional, premium features or content

deleb – a dead celebrity

frenemy – one who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy

locavore – one who eats foods grown locally whenever possible

What do you think the 2010 Oxford New Word of the Year will be?

Can you create your own original new word, serious or tongue-in-cheek? Give it a try and post your word as a comment here. Don't let me down! Get busy and get creative.

Here’s one of my own to kick off the fun (a bit lame, I know, but that means yours can be too):

mobile scone – a pastry bought at a coffee shop’s drive-through window and eaten for breakfast on the way to work

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Friend, Carrie, Makes Me Laugh

Here's a quotation from my friend, Carrie, on her Facebook page. It was too good not to pass along:

"I read last year 4,153,237 people got married. I don't want to start any trouble, but shouldn't that be an even number?"

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Christmas Past

I’m trying to remember what year it was . . . maybe 1998 or 1999, soon after we’d moved back to Juneau, after living for 20 years in Oregon. It was the year my mother came to visit us for Christmas.

A couple weeks before Christmas, on a Saturday, Dan, Mom and I went down to South Franklin Street to browse in the gift and jewelry shops that were still open. Many of these shops close up for the winter, once the tourists quit coming, but others, which cater more to the locals, are open year-round.

In one of the jewelry stores I found a handmade piece of Alaskan art for sale. It was made to be worn as a pin or put on a heavy chain and worn as a pendant. It was made of sterling silver and fossilized ivory, in the shape of an Eskimo, holding a fish in her hands (I always thought of the Eskimo as a woman, although that’s debatable). I fell in love with this piece, and oohed and aahed over it. I even took Dan by the arm and drug him over to the display case to make sure he saw it. Later that day Mom took Dan aside and told him that he really should go get that piece of jewelry for me for Christmas. He said, "Maybe."

A few days later, when Dan was at work, Mom and I went window shopping again. We went back to look at the Eskimo. We were told it had sold, and that they didn’t have another one like it. I was a little disappointed, but felt better when we saw a similar one, although the ivory wasn’t quite as pretty, at another shop. That evening my mom took Dan aside again and told him that he’d better get himself down to this second shop and get the Eskimo pin for me, since the original one was already gone. He was pretty noncommittal, which irritated Mom.

Christmas morning finally came. We sat around opening presents and eating my homemade cinnamon bread. We were down to the finish when Dan put a package in my lap and then stepped into the kitchen to answer the phone. It was Chris and Kelsey on the phone, and Dan chatted with them for a long time. After waiting about half an hour for Dan to hang up, I decided to go ahead and open my package. It wasn’t the right size or weight for jewelry, I realized, but Dan had been know to wrap presents in deceiving ways to trick me, and I was pretty sure my Eskimo lady was inside. It was rare that I hinted so strongly about a gift. I slowly and carefully unwrapped the present. It was . . . a . . . telephone. Just an ordinary, sit-on-the-counter, plug-into-the-wall, forest-green telephone. “Well, we did need a new one,” I said out loud to my Mom, who appeared to be much more upset by this development than I was.

About that time, Dan said good-bye to the kids and looked our way, quickly assessing the rather chilly living room scene . . . all presents opened, everything cleaned up, me sitting on the couch with a green telephone in my lap, and my mom with a how-could-you scowl on her face.

“Oh, no!” he cried, “I’m so sorry! There’s something else!” He dashed over to the tree and, reaching into the thick branches, pulled out a small package. If it looks like a jewelry box, and shakes like a jewelry box, it must BE a jewelry box. Sure enough, inside, cradled in a little pillow of cotton, was my beautiful Eskimo lady, holding her fish. And I knew, by the looks of the ivory, that it was the original one, not the almost-as-nice one from the second store.

Dan told us, then, that he had whispered to the clerk, that very first day (before my mom had ever begun prodding him), to put the piece on hold for him, and had gone back later to pay for it and pick it up. He had thoroughly enjoyed playing clueless for two weeks and watching my mom's nervous reaction. He had to admit, though, that he’d almost blown it all on Christmas morning, when he’d become distracted by a phone call and left my mom and I thinking, for 30 minutes, that he’d missed the mark by an Alaskan mile.